Letters for Thursday, March 26, 2015

• Homeless are not the problem • Limit tax hikes, reduce county workforce • Improved public transportation would help end traffic mes

Homeless are not the problem

 The problem, once again, is not homelessness. It’s land hoarding. You want solutions? 

Look to the fact that Dow Chemicals owns 10,000 acres on Kauai, of which they use 1,000 acres. The rest of which, nobody can even visit, let alone sleep there. Yet, you still say the problem is homelessness. There is land for us all. I know of a place where 30 of us lived on three, yes, three acres. 

We know how to live and farm together but this seems too progressive for those with more land than sense. Let us live on farms in tents and produce food so you don’t have to ship it in. Less cost for you. Less headache and tickets we can’t afford for us. Taxpayers won’t have to pay cops to waste money, fighting a problem that isn’t there.

John Moore, Lihue

Limit tax hikes, reduce county workforce

In Mayor Carvalho’s speech introducing his new county budget, he expressed confidence that the budget would close with available revenues due to rising property values. This is just another way of saying that property taxes would be increasing to fund an increased county budget.

In fact, the Kauai Board of Realtors reported in the March 5 Pacific Business News that the median price of a single family home on Kauai had increased 46 percent to $733,000 and the median price of a single family home in the Hanalei District had more than doubled to $1.3 million from February 2014. Both the mayor and the county tax assessor’s office are well aware of this increase in property value. It means that many homes will be reassessed upward and their tax bills will be similarly increased.

Unless you are planning on selling your home, this increase in property value does you no good and, in fact, it means that the cost of owning your home is increasing due to your property tax going up. This same thing happened in California almost 40 years ago. Property values were rapidly increasing, as were the associated property taxes. People on fixed income such as retirees were being forced out of their homes because they could not afford the increased property taxes. The people of California ended this unfortunate situation 37 years ago by passing Proposition 13. Proposition 13 limited the annual increase in property tax to 2 percent and also rolled back the base property taxes to what they were three years prior.

A similar measure for similar reasons to limit the annual tax increase to 2 percent was passed 10 years ago here on Kauai due to citizen pressure. After this limit was in place for eight years, the County Council quietly removed the 2 percent limit, thus allowing many property taxes to begin a steep rise. This steep rise in property taxes is due to get even worse because of recent home price increases as reported by the Board of Realtors.

Several actions are called for to prevent people from being taxed out of their homes. The County Council should pass a new limitation on the maximum percentage annual increase in home property taxes similar to the one they rescinded. A citizen task force should be appointed to make recommendations on limiting tax increases as well as making recommendations on a more equitable county tax code. 

In addition, the mayor must scale back the cost of county government and services by structuring a more efficient county government, one that will function with fewer county employees and provide services consistent with more limited taxes. 

Peter Nilsen, Princeville

Improved public transportation would help end traffic mess

Limited money to ease road congestion? Then expand bus service. I stay in Poipu when we visit yearly and don’t want to rent a car, but buses do not run late enough. It is almost like the taxi/limo/rent-a-car forces lobbied to prevent effective public carrying of people. Make room for bikes on front and bags underneath and run until midnight or at least 11. And more frequent pickups as ridership grows (or maybe before, to make it grow) will do wonders to take cars off the road because cars are expensive and the bus is so much cheaper.

Wake up Kauai and get cars off the road!

Bob Williams, Hood River, Oregon

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